RI's Miss Universe Gets Her Own Street
Cranston unveiled a sign for "Olivia Culpo Way" on Saturday. Friends, family and her boyfriend Nick Jonas were in attendance.
Along with a chance to meet Culpo's boyfriend, Nick Jonas, local officials unveiled a depiction of the sign, which designates a portion of Howard Avenue in Edgewood "Olivia Culpo Way."
"This is a small token of our appreciation for your accomplishments," said City Council President John E. Lanni Jr. "We are so proud of you."
The City Council last month approved a resolution adding the beauty pageant winner's name to Albert Avenue, which runs the length between Broad Street and Narragansett Boulevard in Edgewood.
The official name of the street will remain the same "and for purposes relating to all emergency response systems," according to the resolution.
On Saturday, state and local officials lauded Culpo for her work representing both Cranston and the state of Rhode Island as a whole after winning Miss Universe last December.
More than a dozen Cranston Police Officers guarded the entrances and exits along with each floor of City Hall as Culpo, dressed in a simple orange dress, entered the building.
She chatted briefly before the ceremony began with Cranston Mayor Allan W. Fung, telling him she was "so excited" to see the sign.
A few moments later, Fung told the assembled crowd that "she wowed not only all of us, but the rest of the world, really making sure Cranston and our little state of Rhode Island was put on not just the national map, but across the globe."
"No matter where you go in life, remember Cranston will always be your home town," Fung said.
Congressman Jim Langevin said Culpo represents the best and brightest Rhode Island has to offer and has done important work touching people around the world, raising awareness about breast cancer research and AIDS as she fulfills her duties as Miss Universe.
"That in itself means she has been able to not only touch millions of lives, but help save millions of lives," Langevin said.
Rhode Island House Majority Leader and Cranston Rep. Nicholas Mattiello said someone doesn't win Miss Universe simply by being beautiful — echoing the words of Congressman David Cicilline — they win it by having substance.
"It's a testament to your wonderful family," Mattiello said, turning to Culpo's family seated in the front row. "What I know of you folks is that you're good people and good people raise good people."
Rhode Island is a state where everybody knows everybody, and Mattiello noted that his son plays ball with the Culpo's boy, Justin, and has slept over at the Culpo's house.
"It's just a great story and Olivia, your grace, beauty and intelligence and [winning Miss Universe] is wonderful news for our city and state."
Culpo said "never in a million years" would she expect herself to be standing in front of all her friends and family to get a street in her name. She said she was deeply thankful and said her success is because of where she comes from, here in Cranston.
"From the minute I left Cranston to go to college, I was home once a week," Culpo said. "It's a special place where everyone is so closely connected and everyone knows everyone. To grow up in such a tightly knit community has made me who I am today. It is about the values instilled in me."
The Miss Universe winner, who has been busy ever since she won Miss Rhode Island, then Miss USA and ultimately, Miss Universe, said she was so happy to see her family and extended family and friends gathered together in one place.
"I couldn't be who I am without where I came from," she said.
One guest on hand was pop star Nick Jonas, Culpo's boyfriend, who snapped photos of Culpo standing next to the framed street sign that was on display at the front of council chambers.
Moments later, Jonas, who acted as shy as he is rumored to be, posed for photographs with fans and members of the Cranston East girls' soccer team, moms and city officials.
Meanwhile a buffet of clamcakes and chowder began to draw a crowd of its own and Jonas, following the advice of Culpo's mom, carried over a plate and bowl to his girlfriend.